There is nothing worse than looking forward to reading a book—especially for a long time—only to not enjoy it when you finally do get to read it. It's even worse when it is so I unenjoyable you have to flounce it.
I have been wanting to read Love Overdue for quite some time since I love library/librarian stories. But between plot elements I hate and how unlikeable I found the characters—as well as reading spoilers about the end of the book—this story doesn't seem to be salvageable for me.
First, the plot entirely hinges on the hero (Scott) and heroine (D.J.) having gross stranger sex eight years ago. You all know how much I hate that. To make matters exponentially worse D.J. did it to ~not he like herself~. On spring break, dressed like a hooker complete with plexiglass heels (who even?), encouraged by her friends she went out to find a stranger to fuck. (Here are my thoughts on that.) And she was a virgin. Just, why would you . . . just, why? That will never make any sense to me. Sorry I'm not sorry that I'm never going to find that to be in any way empowering and not stupid.
And Scott. He apparently cheats on his girlfriend in having that fling. Not that I abide or forgive cheating in any way, shape, or form, but worse—it didn't just happen, he set out to cheat. In reading other reviews apparently he had some convoluted reason: to get better at sex to please his girlfriend. Uhm. What? No . . . wait, what? I get his girlfriend made him feel insecure through no fault of his, but still! How in the world does cheating make things better??
So this entire scenario is off-putting, unromantic, and gross on a few levels. But I probably could have dealt with it as usual if the characters were at all likeable to me.
With Scott, the book had barely started when we're told he had carried on a sexual relationship with a married woman for sometime after his divorce. Given context clues, it didn't sound as if the woman and her husband had an open marriage, which makes him a homewrecker and he had no guilt about this at all. Worse, he got divorced because his wife cheated on him. What would possess him to do the same to someone else? So, between this and the previous cheating I did not like him at all. Add in what other reviews have said about the way he thought about women, particularly D.J., later on in the book and he apparently reaches dudebro levels of douchey.
D.J. was more actively awful, at least when it came to Scott. She, deservedly, feels stupid and mortified over her actions eight years ago. Lucky for her, Scott doesn't recognize her. So she takes her prim librarian persona to an extra degree with him so he won't remember. For some weird reason she thinks her life will be destroyed if he does. Okay. But on the other hand she gets pissed at him for not remembering! What? She already acted like an ass the morning after back then when she fled without a word. Now she meets him again and treats him like crap. With outright disdain. Initially so as not to tip him off, but then she starts making up shit about him in her head that makes no sense. According to her, because he jumped into bed with a stranger he's a liar (I still can't work out how she came up with that one), and a player. Then adds on more thinking he's a bigot against the town's lesbian couple. At no point in time, at least not before I DNF'd, does it occur to her that maybe he was pretending to be something he's not that night, too. That maybe she doesn't know anything about the guy whose name she refused to even hear then let alone learn anything else about him. That maybe there is some history between him and the lesbian couple that precipitated his attitude toward them. (Granted, it is a bigoted little town, of course, but she was just looking for more ammunition to hate him for no reason. Turns out half of that couple was his ex-wife, and the other half is the woman with whom she cheated. And she did get wind of the married woman affair, but it only reinforced what she had already convinced herself of.) Her whole bitchy, dismissive demeanor toward Scott and her nonsensical judgment of him made me really dislike her, too.
At this point I'm not enjoying the book and I don't think it's going to get any better. The only thing I do like is D.J.'s dog, Mr. Melville Dewey. So I go and look at reviews and thank the Book Gods I did. Turns out the only reason to even attempt to push through the book—Scott finally realizing who she is, the big reveal, and working things out—is completely absent. Most reviews lament the sudden abrupt end when he realizes it's her and it cuts to an eight years later epilogue. The climax is entirely absent. What?! Why would you do that?!?! I . . . am SO happy I didn't waste my time finishing this book. I think everyone would have felt my indignant rage. On top of that, everything to do with Scott's mother, D.J.'s landlady/boss, is so utterly ridiculous I almost started beating my head against something hard just reading reviews! (She tries to commit suicide with a botulism pie?! WHAT ARE YOU I CAN'T EVEN!!!)
So, yes. One very emphatic and heartbreaking DNF for me. Dammit.